Humans of New York-Style Blog Spotlights Philly’s Cerebral Palsy Community


When asked what she would say if she could speak to a million people, Lauren answered, “Do you have any pets?”

A new blog put together by three Penn students features photos and stories from what might be an unexpected location: the HMS School for Children with Cerebral Palsy, in University City. The blog, called A Different Kind of Expression, uses the style of Humans of New York (and its many imitators) to give the world a window into the lives of the kids who spend their days at the school, and the adults who support and educate them.

Nikhil Rajapuram, one of the founders of A Different Kind of Expression, has worked with HMS for almost two years, and he was looking for a way to share the amazing stories he saw there. “The biggest issue facing people with disabilities, especially cerebral palsy, is social stigma,” he says. He hopes that this site can help fight that stigma by helping people understand the cerebral palsy community.

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Glamour Shots for Bear Daddies Coming to Philly

AlexZOlrDave Dudar, an Atlanta photographer who’s made a name for himself shooting “masculine and bearish” men, is coming to Philly to shoot some of the beefcakes in our fair city on April 18th.

His outfit is called “Manshots By Dave,” and his credits include work with bear blog Modern Bear, and features in Satelite and HDM. Dudar tells me he wants to come to Philly, because “it is the fifth largest city in the country—but often overlooked. There’s a lot of authentic handsome in a city so big.”

All of his shoots are done outdoors, in urban settings that suit the city he’s in. So, for instance, in Philadelphia, he may shoot a guy on a cobblestoned street with a rowhouse as a backdrop—or maybe in the alley in front of The Bike Stop. “I’m looking for things that make Philadelphia unique,” he says.

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Philly Photographer Takes Stunning Nude Self-Portraits in Abandoned Buildings


Sarah Bloom is a 45-year-old photographer who makes her living by shooting weddings and portrait photography. But Bloom, who lives in Narberth with her 19-year-old daughter, also finds her way into abandoned buildings to take nude self-portraits among the decay, and she’s just gotten international attention for it. Here, she tells us why she does it. A gallery, used with permission, appears after the interview.

So why nude and why in abandoned buildings in Philadelphia?
I had already been taking photos of myself naked to try and get more comfortable with my body. I liked the nude form because of the vulnerability and fragility of our physical beings. And the buildings became a canvas, a backdrop for me. I think they’re beautiful. Sad and beautiful. Aging can be sad but also beautiful, and I try to embrace it as such. There’s a lot of loss there, but also a beauty to it.

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Rachelle Lee Smith, Artist Behind Speaking OUT, on Displaying Queer Art on Broad Street

Rachelle Lee Smith

Rachelle Lee Smith

Chances are, you’ve seen Rachelle Lee Smith‘s work: you just haven’t realized it is hers.

If you’ve walked by the now abandoned Robbinson Luggage store on the corner of Broad and Walnut over the last few months, you’ve surely taken note of the plethora of pictures of LGBTQ youth in the windows. This pop-up project, which is part of Smith’s Speaking OUT: Queer Youth in Focus, has brought her photography quite a bit of local attention. The aim of Smith’s photoessay is to, according to her, “open up minds, humanize the people who fall under the LGBTQ (and the list goes on) spectrum, and create empathy.” Read more »

PHOTOS: Barbara Proud’s First Comes Love Book Launch at UArts

A book launch and reception was held Friday night at University of the Arts for photographer and Associate Professor Barbara Proud’s new page-turner First Comes Love: Portraits of Enduring LGBTQ Relationships (Soleil Press).

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Photographer Snaps Photos of Loved Ones Right After He Tells Them He Has HIV

In his latest project, “I Have Something to Tell You,” Florida photographer Adrain Chesser snapped photos of his family and friends just moments after he told them he was HIV-positive. The collection portrays an array of emotions, from shock to befuddlement to just plain pity. But the process, Chesser told the Huffington Post, helped him conquer the fear of opening up to his loved ones:

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Provocative LGBT Images Up for Grabs in Zoe Strauss Silent Auction

"Women Kissing" is one of the LGBT-centric images available in Zoe Strauss's silent auction for First Person Arts.

“Women Kissing” is one of the LGBT-centric images available in Zoe Strauss’s silent auction for First Person Arts.

Out Philly photographer Zoe Strauss has released a series of images from her 2007 documentary project, “If You Break the Skin, You Must Come In,” to a silent auction benefitting First Person Arts. The project was inspired by a sign she saw off the interstate in southwest Philadelphia advertising an AIDS prevention clinic. The original image, which was included in her 10-year retrospective in 2012 at Philadelphia Museum of Art, is included in the auction.

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Photo Exhibit Documents Last Days of Philadelphia Schools

Philadelphia School Closings Photo Collective Finkle

The Philadelphia School Closing Photo Collective, a project marshaled by Zoe Strauss, will begin a weeklong exhibit of 20 of its photographs at West Philly’s Scribe Video Center on 42nd and Chestnut Streets starting October 16th. The photos document the physical and emotional blackness of the last days of some of the 24 shuttered Philadelphia schools.

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New Project Highlights Our ‘GAYFACE’


New York-based activist/photographer Ashley Kolodner is on an ambitious mission to highlight our pretty gay mugs in her latest project, aptly named “GAYFACE: 1st Class.” The work is a collection of diptych photo portraits of a rainbow of queer folk that she says empowers the queer community and highlights the beauty within all of us, regardless of where we fall on the LGBTQ spectrum.

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